Viking Seaweed Thatch

There is often so much exciting stuff to write about in tile, construction, and interior design that some things get put into the ‘to write’ pile, only to be covered over with a hundred different collections, collaborations, and creations. But they do get uncovered, and today is the day we uncover one of those gems!

And excitingly, today we take a look at Viking seaweed thatch. Kathryn Larsen, a student from Copenhagen School of Business and Design, took to researching the ancient Viking practise of thatching roofs with eelgrass. Inspired by the buildings on the island of Læsø, Larsen took to testing what eelgrass could do in a contemporary setting.

Without much modern tinkering, eelgrass already offers many sought-after properties, being “naturally fireproof, rot resistant, carbon negative and becomes entirely waterproof after about a year,” said Larsen. Not only this, but in terms of insulation, it is comparable with Rockwool.

Photo Credit: Anders Lorentzen, KEA Communications

For all the benefits it affords construction, eelgrass is also able to become a mini-ecosystem of sorts, allowing plants to grow and forming something similar to a green roof.

Although eelgrass numbers are reportedly low and diminishing, it is possible to farm and harvest it in an environmentally friendly way. For smaller-scale construction, it would be possible to supply the Danish industry and still make a tremendous impact ecologically.

Experimenting with different formats, biding, and grid spacing, Larsen ultimately developed prefabricated eelgrass-thatched panels suitable for roofs or facades. These experimental pieces are beign continually monitored for moss growth and stability.

Kathryn Larsen

A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, February 2021.

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